Kind School Network Information Session

Information Session

Please join us as we introduce you to the Kindness Factory, The Kindness Curriculum and all the inclusions in the Kind School Network 2022 Pilot.

Please join us as we introduce you to the Kindness Factory, The Kindness Curriculum and all the inclusions in the Kind School Network 2022 Pilot.

Transcript of video

Hello everyone and good afternoon welcome from all around the country I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the various lands upon which all of us are meeting today for myself that's the land of the Garagol people and I pay my respects to their elders past present and emerging. 

We have schools from the city to the country and everywhere in between 80 schools representing nearly 30,000 students who have been nominated to be part of the client school network pilot this year. I'd like to begin by thanking the Australian community media group who publish papers in your districts for making this possible thank you all for your time today. My name is Rachel Troy and i am the chief executive of the Kindness Factory. The Kindness Factory is on a mission to make the world a kinder place and we do this through a range of programs including kindness acts motivational speaking and Curriculum platforms.

Our Kindness Curriculum is actually available and free to all schools launched in may of 2020 to just 60 schools it has had great pickup with over 3,000 schools across Australia accessing the

Curriculum today developed with our partner Kaplan it provides activities that teachers can

utilise in classrooms to address and explore social emotional learning and pro-social skills that support wellbeing.

Today we are going to hear from Kath Kochel the founder of the Kindness Factory we'll see a video of how kindness manifested in a school in Darwin and importantly we'll hear from our Kaplan academic Tanya Aspland who will share with you more about the foundations of the Kindness Curriculum the session will conclude with a summary of exactly what is included in your kind

school network membership we will be asking questions or answering your questions at the end of the session.

So please do drop them in the chat and we'll come back to them at the end unfortunately Kath can't be with us today due to an emergency but we felt it was really important to continue today

she sends her apologies and has also sent a short video which will now review.

Well it's hard to believe we're here the 16th of march 2022 the official launch and information session of the schools network thank you so much for being here and being our official school partners and pilots of the program for Kindness Factory as an organisation it's a significant moment in the evolution of where we've come from and where we're going to especially with our incredible partners in Kaplan and Australian Community Media (ACM).

My name's Kath Kochel i'm the founder of Kindness Factory and i started the movement back in 2015 after overcoming some pretty big life hurdles. I've broken my back on on two separate occasions and told that i would never walk on two separate occasions spanning i guess a sort of six year period and also lost my partner throughout that period to suicide what i guess my life journey and experiences have taught me through the incredible lows and also the euphoric highs has been that kindness has always played the most fundamental difference in my recoveries and also

grounding me in the moments that i needed to be grounded in. I've traveled the world as a motivational speaker which is a privilege that i don't take lightly and it's something that i absolutely adore and love doing as part of that journey and being sought after all around the world i actually landed myself in in New York.

In a very high-powered executive executive's office and shared my story with him and very quickly realised in that office at that moment that kids are the people that i wanted to be or tell my story in

front of I wanted to be able to inspire i guess a generation of kindness and I think the best way to do that is with children in mind and getting to them as young as possible.

Kindness Factory started in 2015 as i guess a people-driven movement via acts of kindness where we encourage people from all walks of life to be able to contribute an act of kindness per day

per month whenever they wanted to do it and we've had over 3.5 million people log in act of kindness from all around the world. The journey is one that i sort of feel no longer in control of in that so many people are out there contributing to our i guess our tally board of kindness and our kindness log but also i guess in showing the ultimate strength and depth in kindness there are so many stories 3.5 million of them to date, that have probably changed someone's life and all those sorts of things. Which again is just something that i'm so incredibly proud of. In 2018 after traveling the world as a motivational speaker i decided again that kids were the ones that i wanted to be in front of and so for every corporate engagement that i was doing i committed myself

to a school talk for free where i would go into a school environment and share my story with children. Very quickly word got out and lots of teachers like yourself reached out and wanted me to go into their own school environment and share my story with them which left me feeling i guess a little bit bewildered with the process teachers would almost chase me into the car park after going in and creating an environment of kindness for those children and they would ask me what i could leave them with. Could i leave them with a tangible piece of paper that could they could continue that legacy and teach kindness in some way shape or form which i guess left me sort of pondering how on earth i could do more in each of those school environments.

Enter Kaplan who i was very fortunate enough to meet in 2018 and shared this predicament with whereby they i guess added the the the academics and the research to the practical life experience that i'd have that i had sorry and the movement of the kindness.  Kindness Curriculum was then born we weren't sure that the two of us Kaplan and Kindness Factory how the Curriculum

would be received by schools and in 2020 throughout the pandemic in may we actually launched the Kindness Curriculum into 60 of the schools as a gift that i had visited up until that point in Australia.

In only two years of operation or under two years of operation of that Curriculum is now in or exists in three thousand Aussie schools and beyond that in the us and soon to be the UK as well so we quickly realised i guess in putting our heads together that people wanted this um that the Curriculum was being well received we also i guess acknowledge that we're not perfect and that this was just a starting place for for people. I guess to explore the concepts and the basic principles and attributes of kindness themselves last year i guess in doing that we started to sort of survey and question a lot of our schools about what we could be doing more in each of those environments and we're also introduced to Australian Community Media who are now funding i guess the first iteration of the Kind Schools Network pilot which you are i guess a recipient of and why you're here today so with that just a very big acknowledgement to Kaplan and to Australian Community Media for allowing Kindness Factory i guess the platform and the i guess the resources to be able to do what we're doing next. um the kind schools network is something. That i guess has been in our thought process for a very long time um close to four years now whereby i guess we recognise that kids um go through a lot um and if we only have to sort of think back to you know less than two years ago and consider how much our young people have gone through. As i guess a demographic but also within their family environment school environments and beyond that as well um i want to sort of thank everyone for for bringing this project to life i know that it's going to change a lot of things a lot of environments and may also change and save lives that we don't even know yet so with that thank you so much for taking part thank you for your interest and we can't wait to see where this goes to next cheers. 

Thank you we will make sure that at some stage you get to hear Kath's story live because it's quite an incredible story but what we are going to do now is we're going to watch a video to show you just how kindness can come to life in a school so we're going to take you to Dripstone school in Darwin. i made the track here from from Sydney yesterday really pumped for the kids of Dripstone  High sitting in a board meeting and then was surprised and impressively overwhelmed to hear from Mr Salento, grade teacher who let me know that the kids had heard the story of of Kindness Factory and how it all come about and i took it upon myself to log over a thousand acts of kindness which made me feel incredible inside and then we just developed a connection stayed in touch ever since and took the plunge to come and surprise him and yeah initially it started as coming to visit the year eight class will now be a whole school assembly because the other kids caught wind of what they've been up to and um and have inspired a lot more acts of kindness as a result of that so i think the whole school now is aware of of the movement and have really grasped the the idea of kindness i guess yeah i can go in here. Hey man yeah good thanks for having me the act of kindness that was my personal favourite was when this little girl was upset and crying i asked her what's wrong and she told me she had no friends so i asked her if she wanted me to be my friend she had like the cutest little smile on her face and then we went up and played for a little bit i bought a burger for a homeless man it made me feel grateful for what i have now we started out saying we'd only get a couple of hundred eggs then we got a couple of hundred so we did it every day then we got to 500 then someone yelled out a kid that loves math let's get a thousand so we got a thousand then we got to a thousand and we were still doing theory and we say right when we finish theory we'll stop the class got 1376 kindness acts what i'd like to do is if the kindness class could stand up and be acknowledged please [Music] [Applause] 

Oh and they got some presents today they are the first people in the world to get the Kindness Factory hat ladies and gentlemen big round of applause for Kath the founder of the Kindness Factory all right guys how are we good for me the most humbling experiences are the ones that are right in front of me you kids because you're the ones that are going to allow this to become something much much bigger and it's not about Kindness Factory and status or anything like that it's about what you feel when you give someone kindness it's about what you experience when you

receive kindness as well and that's the most important part that we can't forget ever what everyone refers to is like the ripple effect right so one person does one thing and it inspires hundreds more

which has been incredible before we started all this i thought kindness was like really big things like donating to charities but now i realised that kindness can be small things too it can be just saying hi or smiling to someone or just saying thank you [Music] kindness to me is benefiting others before yourself and um just doing an act and not expecting anything back it's in the nature you know it's you know it's in our human nature we're supposed to help people out it’s supposed to support people that's that's what we're here for you know that's that's that's why we have a family that's alright that's why we have friends that's why we have community she's been through so many stuff that like i just want to be so much like a he's such an inspiration for me and everyone else.

[Music] Well done to Dripstone High fantastic effort there and when i see that video  i think about you know everything different things come through in that video each time i see it but today what came through for me was kindness is just small things um so just a reminder um i'd now like to introduce Tanya as planned Professor Tanya Aspland is currently vice president at Kaplan Australia and New Zealand, she's a leader in the education sector of learning teaching and Curriculum development and Tanya's been one of the key academics working on the build of the Kindness Curriculum thank you so much Tanya can you hear me now hi everyone it's Tanya speaking i'm not

sure that you can hear me we can't actually hear you there Tanya we might just um go to anyhow welcome today i'll continue talking i'm sure i'll get a message if you can't hear me it's great to have you on board today

and i'm really excited to share with you some fantastic uh events that we've been engaging in the

in the past 12 months so when it comes to kindness and you think perhaps it's um

it's just a new buzzword but when we look back in history we can see that this concept of kindness has been around

for a very long time um but you could go right back to Aristotle where he says it's the

characteristic of the magnanimous person to ask no favour but to be ready to do

kindness to others so this isn't really a new buzzword it's a concept that's been around for many many years uh

Gibran talked about tenderness and kindness not not being signs of weakness and despair but manifestations

um of of growth and strength and resolution so it's not it's nothing new but it's

exciting and we're trying to present this old or traditional concept

in the 21st century in a distinctive way i'm sure that you're aware that recently

we've we've created very challenging conditions in homeschools and communities and works and even in the

virtual world it's not just about covert it's bushfires it's floods it's illness

disease and so many many modern lives are very exposed or experienced with

increasingly trauma mental health issues domestic violence and depression

and Kath i think is a living example of a lot of that trauma she's had had many

years of trauma of ups and downs and yet was able to press on and find the goodness in people around her

and it's against that backdrop of uncertainty that um kindness has been uh hailed as a

powerful concept and a tool for nurturing of physical well-being but also emotional well-being and social

well-being and it's known in in the in the context of psychological flourishing in people

of all ages so this is important to us and based on Kath's experience we've actually dug deep to find out how in

schools we can support Kath and keep that psychological flourishing going in

very uncertain times characteristics of affection empathy

gentleness authenticity concern these are all words associated with kindness um and it's not really about being weak

or gentle or soft it's actually about having the courage and the strength to move forward as Kath has done

in times of um desperation so we went into the research and started

working with Kath and looking through research and what we did find that kindness positively influences a

person's sense of well-being and to be quite honest i was quite cynical when i started to do this research

most teachers are very kind people they wouldn't be teachers if they weren't i don't think and so for me this

notion of kindness was pretty much just a state of play we're all kind aren't we because we're all teachers however the

the research really influenced my thinking and made me acknowledge that there was a very strategic way not only to work with

Kath and taking kindness forward but to develop up the resources for teachers to be strategic around kindness

in building happy confident well-rounded individuals and so what we found in our early

research that um people who experienced kindness and engaged in kindness increased in

happiness and self-esteem there are correlational studies that prove this that could reduce the state of anxiety

that they were experiencing that could turn a poor self-esteem into an optimistic

lifestyle and could heighten feelings worth and we know that these are all qualities that

teachers are looking for not only in implementing their Curriculum and doing their day-to-day work but actually

bringing out the best in every student that they work with i also went to the research on

neuroscience which is very trendy at the moment looking at the brain and it did show that there was a positive

correlation between acts of kindness and brain activity there was a boost in serotonin and

dopamine which are neurotransmitters in the brain and give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being and also

increased levels of endorphin a chemical that called substance p

and it really helped um release oxygen to build the heart

um to build nitric acid to improve move to decrease depression so this this

research showing that endorphins affected the brain in such a positive way was really striking for us and we

thought well how can we work not in neuroscience as such because that's not our field but to promote and support

teachers in developing pro-social behaviours that's where we started with Kath and

that those conversations with Kath us after we'd listened to her narrative a number of times

and who as she said earlier running off to the car park and teachers saying well how can i keep this going what you know

this has had a really positive effect on on our school context and Kath was working in context where quite

significant traumas had taken place and because Kath couldn't run around to 4,000 schools in Australia and overseas

as well she was very busy giving public addresses to corporations as well

so we wanted to work with Kath to support her and we really started to think well what could we do and this is

where the Kindness Curriculum really came into play now we could have called it anything a

teaching package a teaching resource resource set of strategies but we thought the

Kindness Curriculum was important because in the first instance after we'd done our research we realised

that it had to align to the Australian National Curriculum and the early years learning framework

and we wanted to do that because we wanted teachers to be able to dip in and out of the Kindness Curriculum in a way

that supported their work through the Australian Curriculum we spent a lot of time looking across

the early learning framework and the Australian Curriculum and came up with what we thought was a good way that

teachers would not be dictated to they didn't have to work cover to cover they could dip in and out of the Kindness

Curriculum depending on a theme or content or an issue that they were dealing with

we didn't force the issue of assessment we set up a set of

activities 156 to date that we felt would support teachers in moving forward

with the starting point for us was the creation of a hundred and uh of sorry of

12 attributes and if we could have a look at that slide now that would be great thanks jimmy

the attributes um ranged across gratitude empathy

perspective trust and just to give you a bit of an idea when we looked at something like

perspective we wanted to encourage students to look beyond their own point of view and to be sensitive to the

points of view of points of views of others um in gratitude we wanted to

get them to realise that they and be grateful for what they could celebrate

and then move on to work out how to celebrate gratitude with with with their colleagues and and friends

empathy we wanted them to co-experience feelings and thoughts of other people so again as Kathy's pointing out to people

when she talks to the students it was other people around her that made her feel so good and so she

was always grateful for their empathy so empathy became another um

attribute that we looked at we've looked at humour we've looked at mindfulness and meditation we've looked at trust we've

looked at positivity and how you can focus your mind affirmatively on good and

constructive aspects of life rather than the negative we've looked at compassion and we think that's very important to be

sensitive to the emotional states of not only yourself but others and we've looked at self-acceptance and

collaboration now just to give you an example we take each each of the attributes and we

develop activities around preschool years one to three four to six

seven to ten and eleven to twelve now that doesn't dictate that you have to work within a specific age group and

we know teachers are very flexible in the way and dynamic in the ways they work so again we'll we'll be

designing activities that you can work across but you would all know that an activity for

a young child or student would be a 12 and we've tried to differentiate that out

um we've decided that we'll have a set of learning outcomes that are in line with

the Curriculum we have a an activity that you might like to adopt or mitigate

or adapt or modify according to your needs uh we haven't as i said

made assessment explicit but we have included the learning resources and the learning resources range from stories

that you can read to children and we've had quite a number of people come in and read stories stories and we've added the

video to the Curriculum there are working artifacts that you can use as well

so we we hope that for example in prior to school if we were looking at humour

we've got an activity called ketchup in your cornflakes which is hilarious if i reckon adults would enjoy doing it

myself laughter yoga sisters

11 and 12 children to try and develop riddles unpicking the whole literacy

notion underpinning um riddles so look we've tried to develop

a resource that's easy for you you can download the resources with copyright

copy write it if that's a word all of them they're free of copyright you can use them as you see fit and we think

that that's a very useful resource um i think that one of the things Kath

has suggested that she's trying not only to have an impact on your school but to grow schools and to build a network of

schools across the regions and that's what we're hoping that will come out of today's

making people locally able to connect with one another through the Kindness Curriculum but also as as

rachel mentioned earlier building our resources in the us and the uk so ultimately you may be able to have

students connecting not only locally but across Australia, US, UK

even just logging acts of kindness you know think how exciting that would be for

your students in Charlevole to be connecting with some kids in the midwest in America talking through acts of

kindness and for Kath then in the and the Kindness Factory to see that log build and build and build well beyond

thousands and even hundreds of thousands to perhaps millions so we're looking to do that we're also hoping that teachers

can connect as colleagues to work through different issues that children are you know experiencing around trauma

or mental illness and helping one another out through the Kindness Curriculum to support not only one

another but to act in and support their students as well so we we see students

across the nation uh communicating with each other through the acts of kindness

we also want to assist you with your professional development and we'll talk more about that more soon but the kind

schools network will in fact hopefully with the support of our sponsors um Kaplan and

the ACM give you the resources provide you with the resources to build that network

and be able to showcase your school not only as a kind school but a kind of corporation and

Kindness network so in closing you know i put the challenge to you and

to myself and all the others around the table here today and those that hopefully meet out shortly in the future

let's try and embed kindness let's act one embed kindness actions and activities into our life into our

workplace into our Curriculum into our daily conversations with students and you saw from the video how successful

that can be let's share the value and the potential of kindness to colleagues and friends and and

everyone in our profession and let's investigate investigate how we can build

kindness as a real phenomenon within your school we can

support you with the activities through the research through the master classes through the

Kindness Factory events so that we can in fact build and share and as um

Mahatma Gandhi said many years in in a gentle way and in a vigorous way we can

shake the world and make a difference through kindness thanks for listening

thanks so much Tanya and thank you for all the energy and time that you and the Kaplan team have generously provided to

build the Kindness Curriculum so today um i wanted to take the

opportunity to actually run you through the inclusions in the kind school network membership

it's important to understand what's on offer so first up we have the

master class videos this is a teacher resource and will give

you great background to each of the 12 attributes of kindness they're eight minutes in length and three will be

released each quarter so we kick off with compassion trust and positivity in

April following on we have the kind

conversation videos and these are our resource for the classroom they will

inspire your students and your wider community there will be four videos

released each will be 30 minutes in length and they will be released on a quarterly basis with the first coming

also in April another classroom resource is the one

small act podcast produced by Pinna the children's podcaster

our kind ambassador young Jack Byrne interviews kind kids from all around the

world each podcast is 10 minutes in length which focuses on one attribute of

kindness these podcasts are released on a monthly basis and we're currently working with Pinna to grant the kind

school access to that content an important part of the kindness

calendar is of course our days of action this is where we get to show what we're

doing and we're encouraging one small act of kindness be logged on our website on the

following action days so on the 28th of April we have pay it forward day

and on the 13th of November we have world kindness day um we are suggesting that schools uh

celebrate will kindness day on the 11th of November because that's a Friday um this year so um

it's best to to to do that on a Friday when we've got all the kids at school

um we do encourage you to log all your acts of kindness on our website today

we've had over 3.6 million acts of kindness logs since Kath started the

Kindness Factory it's a phenomenal phenomenal and you can see there you simply just go

to  to log your act

importantly for you guys is to ensure that we've got a place where we can put all this information so there will be a

kind school network portal which will be available at the end of next week and each school will be issued with a login

to that portal the portal is where all the resources will live where all the videos the podcast information

some kind guidelines that each school should be striving for and the kind school network badge will also be

available in that portal so our next step from today is really to

have each school nominate a kindness champion this is a person who will own the

initiative within your school this person will be the main point of contact for us

um so please send your nominations through to KSN

um there'll be a special kind of person that you'll find to do this i think

so if i could just finish up by saying if i could quote Jim Waterson the current

dean at the Melbourne graduate school of education i would say that teachers are the eyes and ears of society

so i want to acknowledge the very important role that teachers play in the care of our young people

we are so thrilled to be working closely with teachers so we can understand how we can best support your work in the

classroom through the Kindness Curriculum you are the creators and we look forward to seeing how you each school brings

kindness to life in your classrooms in your playgrounds and in your communities

so i'm just checking um some questions here on the just before we finish up there's a couple of

questions here uh the first one yes of course uh is will Kath be visiting any of the schools

well i can speak for Kath and say she absolutely would treasure the opportunity to attend as

many schools as possible within her schedule so that's definitely something that we'll be looking to do this year

um another good question yeah the master class videos if the master class videos

can be found on the portal and that portal will be live as of Friday next

week so we'll get that the links through to you so you can access those things

got another question here what is the expectation of schools

uh it's a that's a great question actually um i think what we're hoping is that following this information session that

you'll explore the Kindness Curriculum you'll be able to look at the portal and

understand what videos and what assets and resources are available i think you know we'd love you all to be

part of obviously world kindness day on the 11th of November but really

we see this as a pilot it's our goal to understand in a more contextual way how each of you

are using the Curriculum uh what's useful what you'd like to see more of and how we can best support you

so i guess um for me i know a lot of the schools in talking to the principals in the lead up

to today have been really cognisant of the fact that you know teachers already have a

lot on their plates and they already have wellbeing programs in place and i guess we're not suggesting in any way to

replace the things that you're currently doing but we really see this as an add-on so

if we can provide you with the resources to extend your offering and you might just

pick and choose the bits that are really going to assist you in your

school communities would be awesome we just really value your involvement which is great

there's a question here is it all free yes uh the kind school network is free uh and that is free because of the

funding that we've received from um Australian community media groups so

yes it's all free to you guys um one more question i think we've got time

for here which is there are two action days and which is more important to the Kindness Factory

um i think really we'd love to see everyone unite around world Kindness day in November

um the reason that the um we are also flagging the the date of the 28th of

April for pay it forward day is that this will come just after you've received um our first

kind conversations video where your students will hear from Kath and i think

you might find that they'll be inspired and wanting to do a little more so it's just another opportunity to engage

students um i someone's asking here if i can share

Kath's story i really wish i could it's an absolutely amazing story what we will be doing is recording that

story and forwarding it to all of you um i'm going to rap now because i'm conscious of time but i wanted to thank

everyone for being here today with kindness we leave you now but thank you very much.